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Author Topic: Variable ND filter??  (Read 4854 times)

mdijb

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Variable ND filter??
« on: December 16, 2013, 10:48:11 pm »

NEED a quality Variable ND filter--What would this group recommend??

MDIJB
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jrsforums

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2013, 11:03:51 pm »

NEED a quality Variable ND filter--What would this group recommend??

MDIJB

I suggest regular ND filters. 3 and 6 stops.  Preferably multicoated.  B+W would be a good start.
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John

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2013, 11:48:41 pm »

Hi,

I use Kenko Variable NDX: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/824693-REG/Kenko_KNDX77_77mm_Variable_NDX_Neutral.html .

It doesn't go to 1000X without artefacts.

Best regards
Erik

NEED a quality Variable ND filter--What would this group recommend??

MDIJB
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robdickinson

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2013, 01:30:44 am »

IMO the best option is the Singh-Ray one but expensive and they dont support photographers.

Next best is the FaderND on ebay etc.

You know you will have issues at wide angles and large ND values?
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PhotoEcosse

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2013, 04:19:55 am »

I keep getting folk into high dudgeon on this chatroom when I query the value of buying "quality" filters rather than cheap ones. I say that as the owner of expensive Lee filters (the ones for my Nikkor 14-24mm lens are VERY expensive) and a range of "Chinese Cheapies" some of which cost less than £5 on eBay - and I can say that, for all practical photographic purposes (by which I mean producing A3+ salon-quality prints from a D800/e Raw file), it is absolutely impossibly to detect any difference in image quality with the naked eye.

Of course, one often gets hit by the inane cliché, "Why put a cheap filter in front of an expensive lens?" The answer is that it doesn't make the slightest difference.

As far as variable ND are concerned, I use an "own brand" one from the excellent "7-Day Shop" which, about 3 years ago, cost around £35 for the 77mm version. I believe that the price has now dropped to around £19.

Bearing in mind the obvious defects in any variable ND filter (as far as I know, they all are essentially two polarising elements contra-rotated relative to each-other), I suspect that it is as good as a more expensive one although, to be frank, I don't use it very much as I prefer to use fixed-value ND filters, either Lee or Chinese Cheapies depending upon which lens attachment I am using. I tend to think that two, or even three, standard NDs stacked to obtain the desired total value, will give a better result than a variable ND (although maybe not as convenient).
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jrsforums

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2013, 02:53:01 pm »

I keep getting folk into high dudgeon on this chatroom when I query the value of buying "quality" filters rather than cheap ones. I say that as the owner of expensive Lee filters (the ones for my Nikkor 14-24mm lens are VERY expensive) and a range of "Chinese Cheapies" some of which cost less than £5 on eBay - and I can say that, for all practical photographic purposes (by which I mean producing A3+ salon-quality prints from a D800/e Raw file), it is absolutely impossibly to detect any difference in image quality with the naked eye.

Of course, one often gets hit by the inane cliché, "Why put a cheap filter in front of an expensive lens?" The answer is that it doesn't make the slightest difference.

As far as variable ND are concerned, I use an "own brand" one from the excellent "7-Day Shop" which, about 3 years ago, cost around £35 for the 77mm version. I believe that the price has now dropped to around £19.

Bearing in mind the obvious defects in any variable ND filter (as far as I know, they all are essentially two polarising elements contra-rotated relative to each-other), I suspect that it is as good as a more expensive one although, to be frank, I don't use it very much as I prefer to use fixed-value ND filters, either Lee or Chinese Cheapies depending upon which lens attachment I am using. I tend to think that two, or even three, standard NDs stacked to obtain the desired total value, will give a better result than a variable ND (although maybe not as convenient).

You have your views and experience and I have mind.

My view is that if i am going to use a filter (ND or CPL), it will be a high quality one.  Otherwise I will not use one....unless in a corrosive environment like salt air or blowing sand.

This is reinforced by this article:
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2011/06/good-times-with-bad-filters

The reason, above, I recommended regular ND filters vs variable is that variables start to get the cross pattern below around 35mm.  Up towards 10 stops, the visible light is blocked, but color often changes and often the IR leaks though.  When I use my 10 stop ND (seldom), I will use a UV/IR cut filter with it.

John
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NancyP

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2013, 04:27:32 pm »

Variable ND filters were originally invented for cinemaphotography, in which the choice of shutter speed is severely limited to approximately 2 x frames/minute (1/50th sec, in practice). That leaves aperture the only in-camera hardware option in the pre-digital days when film speed was a constant. Variable ND filters were the simplest way to retain some control over aperture.  Now, digital cinematographers can use auto ISO instead of variable ND filters as the variable, I suppose.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2013, 01:54:49 am »

I have used both the schneider and singhray version and both are very well made.  I don't know that either is "better" as far as image quality.

Of course the big advantage of a varyND is just that, you need one filter and you have everything from a stop and half or so (depending on the brand) to 10 stops or greater.  Pretty convenient.  

There are a couple of issues with variable ND filters, first they are double polarizers and sometimes that can affect the scene - both negatively and perhaps positively depending on whether you like polarizers to control reflections.  Second when you use them at extreme's you get infrared contamination as mentioned previously, sometimes rather severe. Not always a big problem but sometimes can cause some serious color issues (same thing is true with any ND once  you get to around 5 to 6 stops and greater.)

I prefer using multiple ND filters of various densities, and I use the ones made by Tiffen, originally designed for cine that also filters out the infrared.

You can also get a separate filter to handle the infrared as well.  


« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 08:00:22 pm by Wayne Fox »
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MarkL

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2013, 08:22:17 am »

The FaderNDs are awful, colour cast and sharpness loss - there is a reason these cost for much from the big guys. I had the Singh-Ray and it was good but there is no calibrated scale for how much ND you are adding (it is non-linear) which made it tough to use - I now just use a 3 stop B+W screw in filter.
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Bob_B

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2013, 09:15:53 am »

I prefer using multiple ND filters of various densities, and I use the ones made by Tiffen, originally designed for cine that also filters out the infrared.

You can also get a separate filter to handle the infrared as well.  


+1. Just an amateur, but after using Singh-Ray for over a year, I find its drawbacks are greater than its rewards, specifically the polarizer artifacts when using wide angle lenses. When possible, I plan to sell my S-R variable for a set of fixed ND filters.

YMMV.

Bob
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HarperPhotos

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2013, 09:52:40 am »

Hello,

I had a Variable ND filter and it was terrible when used on my Nikon 16-35mm lens.

I now use a 6 stop and 10 stop ND filters which do the job perfectly.

Attached image using a 10 stop ND filter

Cheers

Simon
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jrsforums

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2013, 10:05:14 am »

Hello,

I had a Variable ND filter and it was terrible when used on my Nikon 16-35mm lens.

I now use a 6 stop and 10 stop ND filters which do the job perfectly.

Attached image using a 10 stop ND filter

Cheers

Simon


In that image, without a strong light source, it does not matter.  If you have a strong light source in the image, I recommend the use of a B+W UV/IR Cut (486M) Slim MRC Filter, to cut the IR not cut out by the ND filter.
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John

Lightsmith

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2013, 02:50:39 pm »

It depends in part on whether you want to use a lens hood. Two top quality variable ND filters are made by Schneider and Singh-Ray. The Schneider is oversize so it will not vignette but it precludes using it on a lens along with the lens hood. I prefer to be able to use a lens hood so I chose the Singh-Ray filter instead. For optimum results in all situations I would have both filters but at the price and for the amount of times I will be using it the single one from Singh-Ray is good enough.

Polarizing filters do not work well with wide angle much less ultra wide angle lenses (like a 16-35mm zoom) due to the angle to the light at the edges of the lens. I would expect problems with a variable ND with such a lens.
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Graham Clark

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2013, 04:16:57 am »

NEED a quality Variable ND filter--What would this group recommend??

MDIJB

I own a number of good vari-NDs and one thing to keep in mind is that after 3-stops power they all produce a very noticeable X at wide angles, say at 30mm or wider. : (

Graham
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francois

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Re: Variable ND filter??
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2013, 06:44:53 am »

I own a number of good vari-NDs and one thing to keep in mind is that after 3-stops power they all produce a very noticeable X at wide angles, say at 30mm or wider. : (

Graham

That's one of the problems, for wide angle lenses, I prefer non Vari-ND filters. For some types of scenes, it might not be an issue, though.
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Francois
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